By Terry Trucco
Hotel minibars make me think of good times, not good for you. (M&Ms for $7, too, but that’s another story.)
But the minibars at the Standard hotels — including the Standard High Line and Standard East Village in New York – are tweaking what’s good, or at least what you’d imagine to be good in an in-room stash.
A while back the hotel’s minibars started selling Happy Socks for $12 a pair. And the latest this-ain’t-the-Holiday-Inn addition nestled in with the Kit-Kats, Cracker Jack and mini bottles of Ketel and Patron? Vitamins – packets of Smarty Pants Gummy Vitamins for Grownups, to be precise.
As you’d expect from a hotel that prizes good looks, these aren’t weird colored pills the size of
Brazil nuts or gelatinous orbs reeking of fish. They’re mini gumdrops that taste like cherry, orange or lemon, come sprinkled in organic cane sugar and look like they were plucked from a shelf at Dylan’s Candy Bar — or brought to life from the Candyland board. In short, for something that promises to deliver 150 percent of the US Reference Daily Intake plus Vitamin D and nine additional nutrients, they’re cute.
That was the idea, says Courtney Nichols Gould, Smarty Pants co-CEO and co-founder, in a phone chat. The original Smarty Pants Gummy Vitamins, introduced in 2010, were for kids. A serial entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, Gould and her partner (and husband) Gordon Gould, the parents of a boy and a girl, decided there was an untapped market for a kids’ multivitamin fortified with Omega 3s, essential fatty acids from environmentally friendly fish oil, Vitamins D, C, B12 and Folic Acid that kids would actually want to take. To sweeten the mix, they wanted a product that lost the corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
A year later they brought out a version for adults. And seven months ago they launched Smarty Pants On-The-Go, a daily dose in a packet. “We started thinking, where are people most concerned about getting sick, and I realized airports, airplanes and hotels would be great places because when people travel they always forget to bring their vitamins,” Gould says.
A fan of The Standard High Line – “It was near and dear to me because I had stayed there and liked its look,” she says – Gould networked her vitamins into the hotel, persuading a friend who knew a director at the hotel to show him the product.
The hotel ordered up packets for the minibars at the Standard, then reodered, stocking them in all Standards nationwide. Smarty Pants are also available at other Andre Balazs properties, including the Mercer Hotel in New York and Chateau Marmont in LA. A pack costs $1.25. “Compared to most items in the honor bar, it’s pretty inexpensive,” says Gould.
Each pack contains a daily dose of six tiny gummies for a grand total of 50 calories. Why so many? “Fish oil is a big molecule. It’s a volume issue,” she says.
But who’s counting? The gummies taste like the real thing (and I don’t mean vitamins). “And they taste really good if you refrigerate them,” Gould adds. “It’s an extra little flavor kick.”